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  • Shows how managers can readily embed talent development into their day, going well beyond the usual coaching and training programs--an incredible complement to talent management systems

  • Offers five exceptional development practices derived from research with managers and professionals at twenty-eight companies

  • Filled with real examples and easily accessible advice


Most organizations report that talent is the key to their success. Yet they struggle mightily to develop their workforce. McKinsey's ten-year follow-up to its famous "War for Talent" concluded that heavy instruments in talent managements processes have been "insufficient, superficial, and wasteful." Managers consistently say they don't feel they have the time or skills to do the job. Even if they want to develop their people--they are overloaded just meeting their numbers.

Some managers, however, are able to deliver business results and develop their people in significant ways. Wendy Axelrod and Jeannie Coyle studied these "Exceptional Development Managers" in companies like Adidas, Microsoft, Siemens, Merck, Corning, and Kraft. The authors uncovered five practices these managers shared. Without fail they integrated development into day-to-day work, rather than making it a separate event. They leveraged the importance of emotions and trust in making work more developmental. They helped their staff find the right development partners. They taught their people how to increase their impact by navigating organizational politics. And they infused their departments' environment with abundant development opportunities. In all, these managers' efforts were deliberate, resourceful, and continuous.

Axelrod and Coyle offer a wealth of real-life examples and specific techniques to help readers apply these practices for themselves. Working in this way not only pays huge dividends for managers' employees and organizations--it makes the manager's job far richer and more rewarding.